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Hello, and welcome to drama.

This is lesson four of six for the topic, commedia dell'arte: an introduction.

Today in our lesson, we are going to focus on stock characters, and masks, part one.

My name is Mr Wood.

And if you're ready then let's get started.

To keep yourself safe this lesson make sure that you're taking part in the activities inside.

Make sure you've got plenty of space to work safely.

Your shoes and socks are off.

The floor isn't slippery and you've got comfy clothing on ready to move.

You can pause the video now to make sure those things happen and click resume when you're ready to move on.

For this lesson, you're going to need plenty of space.

As ever, we start with an introductory quiz.

So well done if you've completed that.

If you haven't had a chance, please go back to do that now.

We'll then continue with a recap of last lesson and the skills we used.

We'll then understand the stock characters where we've been leading for all the previous lessons up till now.

And then we will start exploring those stock characters practically before we finish with our exit quiz.

Let's recap last lesson.

We experimented with grummelot, a verbal communication, which doesn't focus on the word, but instead the emotion.

It's essentially using sounds to elaborate on emotion.

If you think of emotion as a foundation and the sounds come from that.

The sound is almost the house.

We also highlighted the importance of the audience and how that kind of fits within the style of commedia.

You must find ways of including them where other forms of theatre don't.

And it's a way of sharing a story with them as if they were a performer, or part of your story.

So your key words for today's lesson.

Character and that is a person with qualities distinctive to them.

Layer is a sheet of something typically one of many.

And we're going to explore that word in amongst other qualities or parts of the commedia style.

The next one is energy, which you're going to need a lot today.

That is the strength required for physical activity.

And lastly, master.

A master is a person who has control or is in charge of another person.

Understanding the stock characters.

They would form a group of names and faces that would appear quite obviously, in nearly every single commedia piece that you would have seen if you were around during the 16th century.

These characters would appear time and time again throughout this era.

And I wonder if you can pick up on how they may have done that without losing some of those core values, the things that make the character who they are.

Masks, the stock characters would be preserved in a mask.

It sounds so simple, but it's really effective.

They think of it like a like a foundation.

The analogy I used before, their starting points to develop a character, all right? Every single detail on the mask contributed towards how that particular character would be performed.

In essence, the character themselves is their born from the mask.

It's a way of saying that that mask gives birth to that form of character, that way of performing.

And they were always half masks.

So they would stop just above the top lip.

And they would cover the eyes and a large percentage of the face.

Now the rules of wearing a mask were quite particular, you've got to consider how you look back and forth between the character that you're engaging with and the audience that again, you're engaging with.

So it's very important to consider how they're both equally as important.

And you've got to devote enough time and energy to look and address them back and forth each time.

You'd only ever touch the mask when it's appropriate for that character.

And we'll come to a few characters in a second.

But it's quite important to know that you would try to avoid touching the mask where possible because it breaks the sense of character in a way unless it was needed.

You can't let your head move about that freely.

A bit like how we've explored mine, it needed to be quite precise.

So a lot of the movements in most not all, but in most of the stock characters was quite prescribed.

You'd need to think about where you're moving and what that shows about your character.

There's only a few exceptions whereby these characters enjoy the moments to explore and to elaborate.

And then you must be able to communicate emotions and thoughts through the body.

You've already lost, you're limited by what that mask takes away from you in your facial expressions.

So it's really a way of almost putting a hat on and then letting everything else that's on show make up for what's lost.

Now, these characters, these stock characters, belong to two main groups.

The first one being the masters and the second being the servants.

And the hierarchy that's created here shows us a gap.

And in these gaps are where all of the different stock characters fit.

They've all got their own place in the hierarchy.

And the only two people that aren't in these two categories really are the lovers and we'll come to them in a few moments time.

And what I find is really interesting about the commedia characters is that they can be seen almost everywhere, to some degree, however big or small that might be.

It can be a large boss, someone that's very important, very powerful, has a lot of control.

It could be someone who doesn't work very hard and is a little bit lazy.

It could be the royal family.

There are many characters in there that we can associate with some in the stock character pile.

The fool, the waiter or waitress, someone who has spilled their drink on somebody else, and looks like a complete buffoon trying to say sorry.

They're everywhere.

So let's explore these stock characters.

Let's not waste any time.

But to do this, and to do it safely, we need to warm up.

So clear the space that I asked for earlier and let's get ready to move.

We'll start today with some jogging on the spot.

So if we're all ready.

What we're going to do is we're going to turn this into the quickest sprint we can handle in three, two, one, go.

Three, two, one, now back to the jog.

I'm going to do that sprint again for the last time three, two, one, go.

Okay, this time what you're going to do is we're going to widen our legs apart.

We're going to drop down into a squat trying and keep you back straight as we go down, okay? Do four on each side.

So one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Okay, this time legs in, shoulders going back, now circles and forwards.

This time, we're going to make it wider.

Make sure you're not around anything that's potentially going to get knocked.

Now backwards.

Okay, this time hands on shoulders forwards.

Go slow as you need to, just make sure that your shoulders are starting to get warm.

Now back.

Okay, this time just the shoulders.

And forwards.

Okay, this time you're going to take you arm place it all the way over just past centre.

I'm just going to stretch down this line and find that you go more into it the longer you hold it.

And back up.

Swap arms to the other side.

Again, we're working down the slide.

And back.

Okay, this time with our head.

We want to try and get a little bit looser.

So, starting to the side.

Just a tilt.

To the other side.

Back again.

And over the other.

This time we're just going to roll it around to the other side.

And back.

Looking up centre, look to the left, to your right, back to the left and to the right.

Back to centre.

Okay, if any part of your body isn't warm yet, please go back to do the practical version.

But now we move on to the vocal warmup.

So repeat after me.

Mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mee.

Oui oui oui oui oui oui oui oui oui oui oui oui, oui.

Sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss.

Sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss, sss.

Vrrr, vrrr, vrrr, vrrr, vrrr, vrrr, vrrrr.

Ku, ku, ku, ku, ku, ku, ku ku, ku, ku, ku, ku Tu, tu, tu, tu, tu, tu, tu, tu, tu, tu, tu.

Brrrrr, brrrrr Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Brrrr, brrrrr.


How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? And let's go as quick as we possibly can.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Nice onto to Sally sells seashells by the seashore.

Sally sells seashells by the seashore.

Sally sells seashells by the seashore.

And the quickest one.

Sally sells seashells by the seashore.


This time Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said the butter's bitter.

Even quicker, Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said the butter's bitter.

If two witches would two watches which witch would watch which watch? And again.

If two witches would two watches which witch would watch which watch?.

Quickest time, are you ready? If two witches would two watches which watch, ah, ruined it.

Last chance, ready? If two witches would two watches which witch would watch which watch?.

Got it? All right, if you're not warm enough then please go back and do either the vocal or the physical warm up again.

But if you're ready, let's start with the stock character, Magnifico.

Magnifico, as you can see by the mask is quite an angry character.

And he is top of the food chain.

Okay, he is top of the hierarchy, also known as king of kings.

He is the most powerful.

No one can challenge him on his authority.

He is very grand with how he stands and holds herself.

Quite mighty in the in the town of other characters.

And he is very much a thinking character.

He's not so much a doer that he will stand, he will contemplate, and then he will act.

He is powerful like an eagle or another animal that takes great pride in its appearance.

And with that comes a sense of aggression, but a very subtle aggression.

Something that's almost sinister.

And we can hopefully, interpret this mask as having through the colours, through the shape, and through the depth of the lines we can hopefully, understand that this gives us a sense of evil, and something that's quite demanding.

When he's in the space he commands it and he's very controlling of the other characters.

They will essentially bow and become subservient to the mask of Magnifico.

Now we're going to have a go at experimenting with how Magnifico moves.

We're going to workshop his body language and how he engages with certain people in the space.

I would like you to join in with me at the same time.

So please, we need to pause the video now to gather your space together and let's get going.

Magnifico walks proud.

He has a certain glide or strut about him.

You need to think about puffing up the chest, okay? You need to think about a deep breath to bring that chest up.

The shoulders are ever so slightly relaxed.

It's only in confrontation that they start coming up a little bit more if there's a threat, okay? The head is the first thing to move.

And it's generally through the eye contact and the glare that it gives someone a sense of let's say, that's what gives them their order to move.

Have a play around with the shoulders and think, do they feel right? Do they feel like they're high enough up here? Or can you exaggerate that one step further, okay? This is our next activity.

We need to think about how we push these characters beyond what feels normal, okay? So if we're bringing the character up here and feeling that our shoulders are quite high up, it may not look like that at all.

So think about pushing it one step further.

It's going to put you out of your comfort zone.

So chest is all the way up.

It's out and leading forwards and the head is going to initiate that as well.

So I'm strut forwards.

I'd like to make sure that you've had a go at addressing some of these bullet points.

So feel free to pause the video now to go over a few that either you haven't pushed enough, some that you haven't exaggerated.

Just make sure that you're comfortable standing and moving as Magnifico before we move on.

The next stock character, and one of a pair from the next level down from Magnifico, almost a mini Magnifico, really, is called Pantelone, or also known as Pantaloon.

He's in his late 50s.

Although he thinks he is considerably younger than that.

He thinks he is top notch.

He's a bit of a leader.

A lot of other stock characters look up to him.

And he's incredibly feared by his servants.

They literally kiss his feet.

And he is a merchant.

He's worked hard for the money he has.

And now this has made him quite miserly, quite greedy and sly.

He's quite unsympathetic when his servants are tired or are busy and the world has to stop and revolve around him.

He's generally a father of one of the lovers who we'll come to later.

And this gives him a significant amount of power and control.

Pantelone is such a sour character.

He's got such a horrible aftertaste when he leaves the scene.

It's almost as if you think urgh, gives you a shudder.

And he's always thinking about what's in it for him? How's he going to benefit from it? Let's look at the mask, the actual the image there on the screen.

I wonder if you can pick up on any details that might tell us a bit about his character.

There are some really defined features.

The nose being quite a significant part.

The massive eyebrows, almost wirey.

The wrinkles, which then almost sank down the face and it's almost as if his age is amplified through the mask.

Pantelone moves in a very specific way.

So if you can join me, I would like you to stand perfectly neutral and I'll stand on the side so you can see this.

I'd like you to put a curve in the back going forward.

So roll those shoulders to about there.

This is a way of protecting your money , protecting your worth.

And this is how Pantelone stands.

He feels comfortable like this.

If you still then turn around the knees are quite important.

The knees are coming up, okay? He's picking his feet up more than he normally would.

And these feet, they're not just going up forwards.

They're turned out, okay? So he needs to think about how he protects himself, he's arched, his knees are coming higher as he moves through the space.

It's a very odd way of moving, but it's very specific to Pantelone.

I then need you to think about how your knees are softened.

So even when he stood, if we stand like this again and the knees come up, even when they go down quite soft.

So instead of me going land, land, it's quite a soft approach.

So even if he's not happy about moving, he can go, he's a bit like a sloth, he can move quick when he needs to.

And then when he speaks it's quite groggy tone.

It's something that's, like I said before, sour.

It's a bit like if you hand sanitizer on your hands and then you accidentally touch your mouth and yurgh, urgh.

And altogether, it's an odd formation.

So roll their shoulders forwards again, get that arch in the back, and then think about how the knees are going to come up for you to move around space.

Adopt this kind of hand sanitizer taste as you walk around, everything annoys you, okay? And you're thinking about who you're engaging with, who you want to avoid, who you're going to go up to.

Pantelone has a way with people and by that I mean he annoys them.

He's always thinking what's in it for him? Imagine if you're walking up to Magnifico.

How are you going to move? How are you going to stand? Because we are beneath Magnifico he needs to completely worship him.

Okay, he's not the lowest of the low.

He's not at the bottom of the hierarchy.

He's just below him, but he needs to show worth.

So shoulders, maybe if he notices him at the last second.

Next we have The Doctor also known II Dottore.

And he is the same level in in the hierarchy as Pantelone and quite often a source of rivalry.

He's also a father to one of the lovers.

And unlike Pantelone, he is a man of reading, of learning.

And he's quite comical because he often gets it wrong.

He could be saying something like a book is great.

A book is made of so many words, yeah, out of metal.

But it's not.

It's made of paper, which is often very simple jokes between the actors on the stage and their audience.

He's considered to be a caricature of that strict, old fashioned teacher as well as having moments of hilarity through his actions.

That's kind of the basis for him.

And we can feel free to laugh at him for those actions.

He's more appreciative to things like food and culture than that of Pantelone, who is just very sour and bitter.

When we look at the doctor's mask, we can see it contrast Pantelone's.

It's a lot softer.

And these features come from the layers of the mask.

We see the size of it and the shape.

It's a lot more round.

We see the nose and the cheeks be a lot more bulbous, and plump than that's of Pantelone's.

And his face doesn't sag half as much.

The eyebrows are a lot more neutral and the wrinkles at top of his head seem a lot softer.

So from this, we might be able to pull out that he is softer and more approachable than Pantelone.

The Doctor is a very pompous character.

This man likes attention.

He thinks about his moves very carefully.

And his gestures sometimes sweep through the space because of his large frame.

His feet are quite wide apart and that's to support his bulk, his weight.

And he sometimes can be found when he's thinking almost like a statue.

And his belly is very important to him.

His belly is his most defining feature.

So he leads from the belly.

Have a go at moving around the space now.

Don't forget that he leads from the belly and every now and again, he's going to stop to think.

And we have the lovers, also known as the Innamorato and the Innamorata.

They were known as literally the ones in love.

And they were the characters that didn't wear masks.

If you remember, these two don't really conform to the masters and the servants hierarchy.

If they did, they will be up there with the masters as Pantelone and The Doctor's children.

They were aristocrats.

They were born into a society that was full of wealth.

We don't necessarily laugh at them as people.

They're not comedic in a sense, but we do laugh at the situation that they find themselves in.

And what's really interesting is the fact that this was one of the first times we saw women on stage.

They would generally wear popular costumes of the time, so very fashionable clothing.

They would speak with incredible clarity and be very well pronounced.

And today, we can link them to that of Romeo and Juliet.

They're very similar to those characters from two different families that generally feud.

The lovers are very interesting characters, specifically how they move through the space.

They're like a flag in a not so blustery day, it just kind of floats.

And they do this with their arms and with their hips.

They literally sway through a room.

It's very light and fluffy.

Their hand gestures are something that's quite particular.

There's a lot of kind of flourishing of the hands and kind of expressing them out.

And it think borders on the skills that you may find in ballet.

Very precise, very detailed, very elegant.

When you're having a go with this really do consider where the arms are and how you're using them to move through the space.

For example.

Well, the Innamorata kind of like teeter and with the arms kind of be more fluid.

And then that of the Innamorato who uses them for strength.

How do you think the Innamorato would react if he saw the Innamorata? What would he do? What might he say? Well done for taking part.

I hope it was insightful to see how the characters might begin to stand and move in the space.

But now I have a statement for you to consider.

Masks we use to hide detail from the audience so the plot was not ruined.

Do you think that's true or false? Three seconds.

Of course, the answer is false.

Masks were not used to hide anything from the audience.

Instead, they were a way of instantly recognising who that character is.

And if you remember from earlier on I said that masks almost gave birth to the character we saw on the stage.

Now we're going to continue with understanding one of these key stock characters.

Who do you think this is? Take a couple of seconds to guess from the stock characters we've explored today.

Magnifico, Pantelone, the Doctor, or the lovers? Of course, this is Pantelone.

I wonder how you came to that decision.

Was it the big bushy eyebrows? Was it the saggy cheeks and the wrinkles involved? Was it the nose? Was it the cracks in the skin? It can communicate this man is quite tired and quite miserly.

Masks tell us a lot about a character.

And we're going to take the qualities from this mask to a particular scene.

And what's beautiful is as you are the performer I want you to interpret this mask in your own way.

So whichever features you think are more prominent or stand out more, pick them and work on those to create and build your own version of Pantelone.

For the main activity today you're going to be interpreting Pantelone.

Using all of your prior knowledge, exaggeration, mime, grummelot, and today's understanding of Pantelone's character, I would like you to improvise him walking to a market stall, and haggling, or bartering on the price of an apple.

Very simple.

But there's a lot of scope for Pantelone as a character to come through.

Posture and gesture are equally as important.

Just get creative.

Don't think too much.

Let it be instinctive.

You'll need to pause the video to complete this task.

And I recommend that you rehearse this at least three times to be able to push the exaggeration one step further every time.

Once you've done this, click resume, and we'll move on.

Well done for your hard work this lesson.

It's been even more practical than the last three lessons combined.

So you've done really well to get through all of this content today.

In our next lesson, we're going to look more at the servants in commedia.

And I look forward to seeing you then for lesson five.

Until then, take care and I will see you next lesson.